Joined by nearly 90 gun-control advocates, the Newtown Action Alliance, an organization formed after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, went door to door to congressional offices Tuesday, meeting with lawmakers and their staff to discuss the need for universal background checks.
Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, who lost their daughter Jessica Ghawi, 24, in the massacre at the Aurora, Colo., movie theater, returned to Capitol Hill today for the first time since the background check bill failed last April.
“It’s frustrating. When you’re having a mass shooting every four months in America and our leaders are doing little to nothing, that’s frustrating,” Sandy Phillips told ABC News. “We’re talking lives. We’re talking about lives being taken.”
“It’s frustrating to see so many people become more involved in this and the lawmakers not taking a stand, not putting the lives of their constituents ahead of the special interests,” Lonnie Phillips said.
The Phillips family and other advocates will be in Washington, D.C., throughout the week, speaking to any members of Congress who are willing to listen as they make the case for stricter gun laws. On Wednesday, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Reps. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., will link up with advocates for a news conference, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns will hold a rally Thursday to renew the push for gun control legislation.
The advocates also faced the harsh reality of lobbying for stricter gun control in Congress, where there is still little new support for background check legislation
A plea for support for gun legislation from Phillips and another family of an Aurora theater shooting fell on deaf ears during a meeting with the chief of staff to Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
“The congressman will not support the bill,” Sandy Phillips told ABC News. “We were told flat out he will not.”
“It was frustrating but that’s politics,” she added. “There’s a lot of misinformation and there’s a lot of hesitation that goes along with what we want to accomplish.”